Learning from Country Case Studies: Contemporary Themes in Combating Corruption

Pauline Tamesis, 9th IACC, Plenary report, Development

Plenary Report Back

“Learning from Country Case Studies: Contemporary Themes in Combating Corruption”

Workshop Chairs:

Alan Doig, Liverpool Business School, Liverpool John Moores University

Irene Hors, OECD Development Centre

Panellists:

Helene Grandvoinnet, OECD Development Centre

Irene Hors, OECD Development Centre

Pauline Tamesis, UNDP Programme for Accountability and Transparency

Jon Moran, Liverpool Business School, Liverpool John Moores

Robert Williams, Department of Politics, University of Durham

Alan Doig, Liverpool Business School, Liverpool John Moores

Rapporteur:

Pauline Tamesis, UNDP Programme for Accountability and Transparency

The workshop on Learning from Country Case Studies: Contemporary Themes in Combating Corruption presented the results, lessons and analysis of country reforms to fight corruption.  The 3-hour session pulled together the work of the Department for International Development (UK DfID) funded Corruption and Anti-Corruption Research Project, as well as the joint efforts of the UNDP Programme for Accountability and Transparency and the OECD Development Centre on Comparative Country Case Studies in Anti-Corruption.  The UK DfID project is based at the Liverpool Business School, Liverpool John Moores University and covers the following ten countries:  Botswana, Uganda, Ghana, Hong Kong, South Korea, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Barbados, Lithuania, and Bulgaria.  The joint UNDP and OECD project meanwhile includes: Bolivia[1], Pakistan, Philippines, Morocco and Benin.

These two research studies shared similar objectives, both of which targeted to analyse reform efforts undertaken in the countries covered, as well as to increase understanding of the problems of corruption and improve capacity to address these problems. 

In terms of results and common points of learning, three major highlights were as follows:

1)                  Both studies identified the urgent need for in-depth country assessment and evaluation before any decision is undertaken to develop or establish an anti-corruption agency as the sole response to the prevention and control of corruption.  In most countries, the set-up of such an agency has been too easily considered, resulting into many shortcomings, which actually reduce the impact and effectiveness of national anti-corruption efforts.  The studies cited that it was important to determine the context by which an anti-corruption agency is feasible and effective.  Recognisably, there are specific factors unique to each country.  However, there are basic elements required and they are, among others, the following:

•         A favourable and realistic political climate

•         Basic level of governance in the financial sector

•         Determination of what the strategy or business plan, which delineates priority areas for initial efforts and addresses more long-term needs.  This also includes an elaboration of who does what, why, how and in what time period.

•         Need for strong legislation that is actually enforced and monitored

1)                  Related to the first point raised, both studies emphasised the misperception that anti-corruption agencies can be the “end all and be all” of any government effort.  There has been a significant and increasing interest in using the successful Hong Kong ICAC (Independent Commission Against Corruption) model, which operates on a unique set of parameters that do not apply to most developing countries.

2)                  Another lesson derived from the research reflects on the analysis of the role of donors in national anti-corruption reform efforts, which may be more detrimental than helpful if not properly co-ordinated.  The lack of co-ordination among donors has been cited as an important concern, which may be motivated by competition.  In addition, it was also noted that what may be fashionable as a development issue to donor countries may not be the true reflection of the needs and priorities of the developing world.



[1]Results of the Bolivia study were not presented at the workshop since the field mission had yet to be conducted.

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